A tale of two Lamichhanes

Marked by spectacular rise and fall

Himalaya Times
Read Time = 5 mins
  • Prof. Dr. Jiba Raj Pokharel

Nepali media has been over flooded by two tales at the present. They are of the Former Deputy Prime Minister, Home Minister and the President of newly found Rastriya Swatantra Party(RSP) Mr. Rabi Lamichhane and the other of yet another Lamichhane, Mr. Sandip, the former Captain and the leg spin bowler of Nepali National Cricket Team. Whilst Rabi catapulted to dizzy height of political success by firstly registering spectacular win in the recently held election of Federal and Provincial Parliament and secondly by being appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Sandip turned into stardom by first playing for the country and later for the Indian Premier League followed by several other world cricket franchises.

Both of these celebrities had one thing in common. They emerged in the national horizon unexpectedly to the amazement of their countrymen. Who would have imagined that a new party RSP would make such a miracle in the midst of veteran political parties like Nepali Congress, United Marxists and Leninists and Maoist Central. The appearance of Sandip Lamichhane was next to impossible in a sport like cricket which is considered as the realm of former British colony countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and less of the forte of the countries like Nepal which maintained its independent status despite being a small mountainous country.

Mr. Rabi had an easier task in view of the disenchantment of the people with the front line parties due to their dismal performance. The country could never spend the development budget fully. Moreover, these parties could not even supply the fertilizer so necessary for an agrarian country like Nepal. They remained a mute spectator at the sagging economy of the country. The stage was perfectly set for a new party to emerge in which Rabi made a start. It just focused on the failures of these parties and the public voted for it more because they disliked the erstwhile parties than liking RSP.

Mr. Rabi is a Journalist who migrated to the United States and took American citizenship. He came back to Nepal and abandoned the US citizenship but did not bother to take the Nepali citizenship. A petition was filed against him and the Supreme Court gave a verdict to remove him from the post of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, the member of the Parliament and the President of RSP at one stroke. He has been restored the President of RSP after taking the citizenship of Nepal but he is no longer the Member of the Parliament neither the Deputy Prime Minister nor the Minister of Home Affairs.

Mr. Sandip had a taller hill to climb to reach to his phenomenal success. Coming from a modest family background in Chitwan, he faced social pressure as a normal person of his age group would study 10+2 and then opt for doing Engineering or medicine or go to either the United States or Australia. But here Sandip was playing cricket by taking a bus ride to the cricket ground. He had the dedication and thus attained the skill of leg spin bowling. Sandip got a break when the former Captain Raju Khadka and then the coach of Nepali Team Pubudu Dasanayake asked him to bowl in the nets and selected for under 19 training when he was merely 14. He was selected in Nepal's under-19 squad for the 2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup where he took a hat trick in a game against Netherland.

Both the Lamichhanes had meteoric ups and downs. It shows how the success is difficultly achieved while the failure can be just a spark away if not manipulated properly.

He caught the eye of Scott MacKenzie when he played for the Melbourne Cricket Club tour of Nepal and  was bowled in two occasions by Sandip. Sandip was invited to play for the Kowloon Cantons franchise in the inaugural edition of the Hong Kong T20 Blitz. Here he came in contact with former Australian Captain Michael Clark and was invited to play for the Sydney based Western Suburb District Cricket Club. Later the Delhi Capitals bought him and had thus the opportunity to play in the most prestigious Indian Premier League. It opened the gateway to play for several other Cricket Franchises of Australia, Pakistan and West Indies.

Sandip was made the Captain of Nepali Cricket Team after the reigning captain Gyanendra Malla was sacked for disciplinary reasons in 2021 December. He became so famous that when asked about what they knew about Nepal to Pakistani cricket fans, they took the name of Mount Everest and Sandip. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India said that the relation of India and Nepal had been further strengthened through the signing of Sandip by the Delhi Capitals.

All hell broke loose for Sandip when he was alleged to have raped a 17year old minor girl in August 2022. He was arrested in October and now has been released on bail through the verdict of Lalitpur District High court.  He was likely to play after the Cricket Association of Nepal overturned him from suspension but it has been dampened by the recent petition filed by the Office of Attorney General in the Supreme Court against the verdict of the High Court.

Both the Lamichhanes had meteoric ups and downs. It shows how the success is difficultly achieved while the failure can be just a spark away if not manipulated properly. Complacency and the lust for power led to the down fall of Rabi. He should have followed the rules which he did not because of complacency generated by the wave of peoples' support. Moreover, he should not have hurried to take the ministerial posts as the mandate by the people was to remain in opposition and raise peoples' voices. For Sandip, it was juvenile delinquency which brought him crashing to the ground like an ill-fated plane. The country has ended up being a looser in both cases and particularly in the case of Sandip because cricketers like him are unlikely to emerge every now and then in a country like Nepal.

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